Mahjouba (stuffed crepes) are one of Algeria’s most popular street snacks. Think a savory hybrid of a crepe and a flatbread. These thick, flaky pockets are made of semolina flour and are stuffed with a jammy filling of tomatoes, caramelized onion, grated carrot and aromatic spices.
Country Number 3: Algeria
With very limited knowledge of most African cuisine, we were in no means acquainted with Algerian cuisine before beginning this project. We were pleasantly surprised to find the dishes had a strong French and Arabic influence, similar to what is found in Morocco.
Popular Algerian Vegetarian Dishes
- Couscous– These little balls of semolina are so popular that they are Algeria’s national dish!
- Bourek – Baked filo pastry (similar to Albanian Byrek) commonly filled with eggs, mashed potatoes, parsley, onions, olives
- Moloukhiya– A traditional curry made from a bitter vegetable of the same name
- Dolmas– A term reffering to stuffed vegetables, often stuffed with more vegetables (a vegetarian dream!)
- Mahjouba– A popular street snack of semolina-based crepes stuffed with a caramelized onion and tomato filling
Vegetarian rating of Algerian Cuisine:
Making Algerian Stuffed Crepe (Mahjouba)
I’m not going to lie- I (Nicola) used to be really intimidated by recipes involving making dough from scratch. Hence, I avoided them like the plague for many years. However, over the past few months, I decided to broaden my horizons.
I have now become very adventurous with my dough endeavours. From sourdough loaves to Japanese milk bread, bao buns to Turkish gozleme, we’ve now gone through all sorts of dough recipes, some with great success, and some with great failure.
I am happy to announce that these semolina-dough based crepes were a success. It was our first time making dough from semolina flour, and found it to be really easy to work with. So, dough not be intimidated by this recipe, there is no knead. Sorry, bad pun – there is some kneading involved.
What you need to make Stuffed Crepes (Mahjouba)
These stuffed crepes require fairly simple ingredients. The only ingredient you might not have on hand is the semolina flour. Semolina is a high-gluten flour which is quite coarse in texture and is often used in pasta and breads. If you can’t find it at the supermarket, you’ll be able to find it in a speciality store or order it online.
- Fresh produce– onion, carrot, garlic and a fresh chilli (you can always sub for dried chilli if you don’t have fresh!)
- Pantry staples– semolina flour, cumin powder (and seeds if you have them), tin of tomatoes and tomato paste
Steps to make Stuffed Crepes (Mahjouba)
Yes, this recipe does involve making a dough, but its a super easy one and only takes 30 minutes to rest. Including making the dough, making Algerian stuffed crepes can be broken down into just 3 steps.
- Bringing together the dough, kneading it, dividing it into balls then leave it to rest for 30 minutes.
- Whilst the dough rests, make the filling by sautéing vegetables, tomato paste and spices in a pan, then pouring in canned tomato and leaving to simmer.
- Stretch out the dough balls with your hands, put some filling in the center, fold into an envelope and fry in a pan for 5 minutes on each side.
Serving suggestions for Mahjouba
These stuffed crepes are best served hot out of the pan and make for a delicious lunch or snack. Eat them on their own or if you want to spice things up, add some harissa (which is a North African chilli paste).
Algerian Stuffed Crepes (Mahjouba)
- 1 1/2 cup semolina flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp oil
- Water (as much as needed for dough to come together)
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tin of tomato
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 2 green chilies (minced (sub for chilli flakes))
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- Salt + pepper
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander
Make the dough:
- Mix semolina flour and salt in large bowl. Slowly add water until soft dough forms.
- Knead until elastic, around 7 minutes. Add a tablespoon of oil and continue to knead.
- Form into six balls, coat each with oil and put on oiled baking sheet. Cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Make the filling:
- Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan and toast cumin powder and seeds. Set aside.
- Put a tablespoon of oil in the same frying pan and once hot, add chopped onions. Sauté till translucent.
- Next, add garlic, carrots, chillies, cumin and tomato paste and sauté for another few minutes.
- Once fragrant, add tinned tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
- Simmer for 15- 20 minutes to allow mixture to thicken and water from tomatoes to evaporate. Remove from heat and stir in coriander.
Make the crepes:
- Grease a surface with oil, take one ball and use your hand to spread into a very thin circle.
- Carefully stretch out the edges into a large thin square, around 25cm x 25cm.
- Spread a scoop of cooled filling into the centre. Fold opposite ends to meet in the middle, then fold the other two ends so an envelope is formed.
- Repeat process with all dough balls.
- Heat more oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat and place as many shaped flatbreads as you can fit onto your hot pan. Cook for around 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
Did you make this recipe? We’d love to know! Tell us how it went in the comments below or tag us (@gourmetvegetarians) in your photos on Instagram.
Like this recipe? PIN IT!